ASPARAGUS AND STRAWBERRY SALAD and THE B.T.C.

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by Debra on April 23, 2014

I’m always drawn to a great story – more so when there’s an underdog; I still cry when watching Rocky or Secretariat or any of the other tug-at-your-heart-strings kind of movies – even when I know how the story ends. I want the good guy to get the girl, I am a sucker for a great love story and want star-crossed lovers to find their happy ending; I want there to be peace and harmony in the world. Clearly, I am a sap – but it’s always about the story for me.

A few months ago, I was sent a copy of The B.T.C. Old-fashioned Grocery Store Cookbook; I’ve written reviews here before but most of those are for people I know – not the case with The B.T.C. The note from the publisher said this book was different from some of the other cookbooks in that it was filled with stories about a grocery store located in the small town of Water Valley, Mississippi; ‘bucolic’ is the word that jumped from the page.

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In 2010 Alexe van Beuren and her husband turned a historic building into a grocery store filled with hopes and dreams, glass-bottled milk, Cora’s fried pies and local produce. But failure seemed imminent until 5-star chef Dixie Grimes walked through the doors looking for a job – and within a few short months, folks were lined up out the doors to get a taste of her food.

Honey Goat Cheese Frittatas, Mississippi Catfish Gumbo, Kagan’s Dill Pickles, Southern Yellow Squash Casserole, Coulter’s Beans and Rice and Steel Magnolia Cake are just a few of the 120 recipes you’ll find here.

BTC COOKBOOK COVER

The book is rich not only in traditional food of the South, but also rich with stories about the people who live in the community as well as the farmers who provide much of the produce sold at the B.T.C. I read the cookbook cover-to-cover in one sitting, catching a glimpse into the lives of the people in that bucolic town, wishing they were my neighbors, wishing I could take a walk down to The B.T.C. for a slice of Peach Icebox Pie and to catch up on the news of the day.

This is an underdog story about small town folks with big dreams and enough perseverance and grit to make it happen. I see a road-trip in The Professor’s and my future; hot summer day, camera in hand, meandering the sidewalks, saying ‘hello’ to those we meet, looking them in the eye and smiling. And I’m certain we’ll grab something from The B.T.C. for a picnic in the park.

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It’s Spring here in the Midwest (finally!) and asparagus and seasonal strawberries are plentiful; this Asparagus and Strawberry Salad is light, bright, sweet and tangy meal – perfect for enjoying as a side or make it a main course with a good chunk of bread and some cheese.

Disclosure: I was sent a copy of The B.T.C. Old-Fashioned Grocery Store Cookbook free of charge; however, all opinions are mine. 

© 2014, Debra. All rights reserved.

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{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

Katie May 28, 2014 at 3:18 pm

Thank you for the review Debra! I believe you’ve plumb (and strawberry and asparagus) sold me on the book! I love cookbooks with stories like Molly Wizenberg’s A Homemade Life. I know i’ll love this as well!

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Denise April 28, 2014 at 9:17 pm

This recipe clearly makes me realize that I need to get over my fear of adding strawberries to salad. Sounds like a great read; we are always toying with a Southern road trip as well, so rich with culture!

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Peggy Gilbey McMackin April 24, 2014 at 12:13 pm

This cookbook looks amazing, even just for the heart warming stories, and a small town success!
Thanks for sharing.

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Stacy April 24, 2014 at 9:31 am

That sounds like my kind of cookbook, Debra, and guess who found both strawberries and asparagus at the grocery store today? I’m gonna serve this alongside some pan-fried salmon for a whole bunch of pretty colors on the plate.

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Debra April 24, 2014 at 9:46 am

Salmon would be perfect with this salad Stacy – those colors will be gorgeous on the table! The cookbook is filled with so many great stories – you really do get a sense of the town and you just can’t beat a great Southern recipe!

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